How the world sees our great firewall. International media has been keeping a close eye on the communications minister Stephen Conroy’s internet filter.

The BBC reported the news on Tuesday. An expert told the BBC of the need for “extreme caution” in the implementation of such a policy as the “noble aims” of the filter could be easily lost. A report from France 24 focused on the intended secrecy surrounding the blacklisted sites.

The Huffington Post said that the filter would make Australia one of the strictest internet regulators among the world’s democracies, while also likening the plan to regulations imposed in Egypt, Iran and China.

References to Iran and China have featured across multiple media outlets, with Fox News describing Australia as “joining” the two nations, and the Bangkok Post labelling the filter as “China-style”.

Duncan Riley, writing on The Inquisitr, went just a little bit further, claiming that the “dark clouds of totalitarianism are descending on Australia” as governments who step on the censorship road usually don’t stop at just one step. — Elly Keating

Herald Sun follows Crikey’s lead. Nice to see the Herald Sun has finally cottoned on to Crikey‘s story from April on the Victorian bushfire donations debacle. Geoff Wilkinson’s front page “special report” said “hundreds of thousands of items donated to bushfire survivors are still sitting in a warehouse 10 months later”.

herald sun

Erm, thanks for the update, Geoff. As we reported eight months ago:

Informed sources have told Crikey of a lingering pallet pile-up problem, that without immediate state government intervention, threatens to cast a pall over the impressive efforts to date. The unprecedented public response has meant temporary warehouses are bursting at the seams with whitegoods, bedding and TVs, more than three months after Black Saturday.

Andrew Crook

Fairfax’s Christmas bonanza: Meanwhile, over at Fairfax it seems Christmas has come a week early with the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age publishing special “bumper” editions today well before the holiday season kicks in. The Saturday sections News, Insight, Sport, BusinessDay, A2, Domain and Drive all appeared in today’s paper, with an inflated cover price of $2.50. Luckily “updates” are promised in tomorrow’s editions alongside rehashed articles from today. The slackness is set to be repeated next weekend over the Christmas/Boxing Day stretch as staff abandon the mastheads for some end-of-year beach time. Another point of interest for Fairfax watchers will be the number of days between Financial Reviews after readers were forced to wait a ridiculous six days between editions last year. — Andrew Crook

Pay-TV exec returns to Australia: One of Rupert Murdoch’s more experienced pay-TV executives is to return to Australia in 2010, but not, it seems, with News Corp or its local businesses.

Mark Williams is the outgoing CEO of Sky Deutschland AG’s and he steps down from the German company in March, returns to London where he and his family have been living. He will then return to Australia.

Earlier this month, Sky Deutschland said Williams would be succeeded by Brian Sullivan, a manager of British Sky Broadcasting Group where he currently manages all elements of BSkyB’s relationship with its customers. He has been at BSkyB for more than 13 years.

Williams had been at the German group since it floated in 2005. Before that he had been head of Sky Italia (Murdoch’s big success story in continental Europe) and before that he was chief financial officer of News Corp Europe.

Williams started with News Corp in 1996 as chief financial officer of Foxtel, before moving to the same role at News Ltd where he oversaw Australia and New Zealand in 2000. — Glenn Dyer

ATO uses Wikipedia. The Australian Tax Office has used Wikipedia as its primary source for defining private equity in its draft ruling on how private equity gains should be treated for income tax purposes. — The Wall Street Journal

Stephen Conroy website spoof: In protest to the Minister’s proposed internet filter, a fake Stephen Conroy website has been established at The reason behind the site:

“The interesting part of this is that it shows that the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy has not even been forward thinking enough to register his own name domain.” —

News Corp subscriptions on Sony Reader. News from The Wall Street Journal and will soon be available to subscribers on Sony’s electronic reading devices, following Thursday’s announcement that Sony has entered into a partnership with Dow Jones, owned by News Corp. — The New York Times

Manufacturers want Facebook in factories. In a survey of manufacturers with more than $1 billion in revenue, 72% said that they want to develop ways to share the knowledge of senior engineers and professionals using social networking technologies. –- The New York Times

Exposed: Nexus One Hardware. These Are The Droids blog has investigated the hardware of the Googlephone, concluding that it has everything that it needs to compete with the iPhone. — Wired

Magazines and media in 2010. Folio has interviewed magazine and media professionals to find out if we can expect more layoffs, shuttered magazines and shattered dreams in 2010. — Folio

Top 2009 PR blunders. Air Force One, Rigid Delaware School and Goldman Sachs top PR Newswire’s annual list of the top PR blunders. — PR Newswire

Peter Fray

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